The capture of two alleged ATM bombers early yesterday is an indication that visible policing is working, according to the police.
Yesterday, provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Mzwandile Petros used the example of the arrest as evidence that flying-squad vehicles on highways worked.
While these units often didn’t get high arrest rates, they did a job of reassuring the public, he said.
“People say that they feel safe [when they see the police on the highways],” said Petros.
He was speaking on Talk Radio 702, as part of Jenny Crwys-Williams’s Bloody Book Week.
Two West Rand flying squad members arrested the two men after they saw a Nissan Navara in Stuben’s Valley. They found AK-47s and cash in the car. The men had allegedly blown up an ATM in Honeydew.
“It was a good success. The deployment of the flying squad is paying dividends,” Petros said.
When asked if Gauteng was really a “gangsters’ paradise”, the commissioner said he had to agree.
“People… say that they are living in fear,” Petros said.
He said that when he first arrived in Gauteng two years ago, he was fascinated by the “beauty of the walls of Gauteng because the walls are 5m high instead of 2m high”.
“It was an indication that something is not right,” the commissioner said.
One of his first directives was to improve visible policing, He also told listeners that he had introduced a campaign to root out corruption in the police force.
He said that 746 policemen had been arrested in two years. In this year alone, 120 police officers in Gauteng had been dismissed, and 171 last year.
However, Petros said that while cases were being fast-tracked through the courts, Gauteng could do with more courts to deal with crime.
The commissioner called on society and business to help in the fight against crime.